Unit 4 – Singing
Singing is an integral part of the primary school music curriculum. From the early years in kindergarten, students are introduced to singing and to music through nursery rhymes, sung in English and Maltese. In Year 1 – 6, students develop more reading, writing and coordination abilities. Singing aims at developing students musical, vocal and expressive skills as well as their sensitivity and emotional qualities. Singing can also work across the music curriculum in topics such as history of music, musical notation, the playing of the recorder, and those topics related to Maltese music. It can also work across the primary curriculum where together with the class teachers it can be part of cross-curricular projects involving history, science, religion, art, drama as well as the study of English to mention a few.
We have selected songs which can be used for the initial Primary Years 1-3. The selected songs are of course only suggestions which can be used in our mixed ability classes.
The songs are kept within a small range of notes, exploring only very little higher pitches. Good keywords which can be used when teaching singing in the classroom are: gentle, soft, light, don’t force, crisper, faster, take a breath together, look at me, listen to yourself and to others – make sure your tune is like the one of your friend next to you, smile, enjoy it, feel good!
For Year 3 level we suggest Listen to the Water and Il-Farfett. We are grateful to song writer and educator Mary Anne Zammit for her permission to use and include her songs in this unit.
All the singing sessions can be developed and completed in the time-frame of a lesson with successful results achieved almost immediately.
We all have a voice which we use naturally when we speak. From a very young age all children are also taught how to sing. Everyone can sing in his own way!
Songs can speak about something happy or something sad; they can be about our favourite toy or about our best friend. Songs can also have an important message to say.
On special occasions we sing together, such as when it is someone’s birthday, in a school concert and in church. Remember that we must first learn to listen if we want to sing well!
Listen to your teacher play and sing some small tunes.
- Is the melody going up or down?
- Is the melody fast or slow?
- Is the melody loud or soft?
Try repeating the above tunes again singing them fast and slow, loud and soft.
Activity 1 – Il-Farfett
Now let’s try to sing together this song in Maltese called ‘Il-Farfett’ (The butterfly). The song is about the life of a butterfly. It grew out of a cocoon only to find itself in a glass jar. The butterfly wishes it is free to fly from flower to flower, enjoying the beautiful nature.
Remember the following steps:
- Read and understand the words.
- Read the words in rhythm together with your teacher.
- Listen to the small phrases of the melody and repeat these after your teacher.
Animated video – click here
Activity 2 – Listen to the water
Music evokes a wide range of feelings. It makes us move and express ourselves on some occasions in a happy way, in others, in a sad way. Dancers move their body to a rhythm dictated by the feeling of the music. Sometimes movement is also choreographed (studied) and made to match the music we sing, as in the song we are going to learn today.
Today we are going to listen, sing and dance to a song about the movement of water and animals called ‘Listen to the water’.
Listen to the song and follow the words on the next page. This is a simple South American tune, with few words to read and remember. Remember that it is important to read the words carefully and to be sure we know how to say them and know what they mean if we want to start to sing them properly too!
Slowly follow your teacher’s instructions to learn the piece and to create fun movements for the different animals you will speak about.